Trustworthy electronic identification (eID) and trust services, like signatures and seals, are one of the best ways to achieve this.
People should be able to use their e-signature across the entire EU single market, in both public and private sectors. Companies should have confidence in the parties they are doing business with.
The eIDAS regulation was designed for this very purpose. It provides the legal environment for people to shop online safely and conveniently, use online financial and public services, set up a business – all beyond their own national borders.
But: it does not aim to align national eID systems around all the EU's countries. It aims to enable their mutual recognition.
This happens through notification, by each national government to the European Commission, and validated by other EU countries.
Companies and individuals can then use national eIDs when they do business or reside in another EU country. They know that they can trust the people they are dealing with.
Today, Italy becomes the second country to pre-notify the Commission of its eID scheme, called SPID (Sistema Pubblico per la gestione dell'Identità Digitale). Germany was the first country to pre-notify, in February 2017, completing its formal notification in late September.
This is great news. But what is also significant is that SPID is led by Italy's private sector.
That is a first.
It shows that both private and public sectors have an important role to play in building a secure EU-wide environment for eID, one whose national systems are mutually recognised.
Italy's pre-notification puts the commitment made in October's Tallinn Declaration on e-government into action. This was when EU ministers in charge of e-government policy and coordination agreed to increase uptake of national eID schemes and to enable the private sector to make use of them.
We need to speed up in this area. I would really like to see more EU countries presenting eID systems, and as soon as possible.
I cannot underline enough how important this is for building the wider DSM.
It allows people, businesses and public administrations to access and use online services conveniently, reliably and responsibly, everywhere in Europe.
Recognising other eID systems and trust services will help Europe to move from a patchwork of national online markets to an integrated DSM where commercial and public services can flow easily and seamlessly across borders.
In the meantime, congratulations to Italy with an encouraging example for other countries to follow.
You can read more about eIDAS and eID here.
Another blog soon.